The warmer months are usually thought of as a television hiatus reserved for re-runs and Saturday afternoon movies, but these summer releases will give you something to look forward to when you’re all sunburned out from your adventures. Bring those tropical drinks from the poolside to your side table and kick back with your year-round friend, television.
Premieres June 1 on Lifetime
For die-hard reality TV fans, Lifetime’s UnREAL presents a new opportunity for exploring the genre that has come to define guilty pleasures. Starring Shiri Appleby (Girls) and Constance Zimmer (House of Cards), this scripted series about producing a reality dating show is based on Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s short film Sequin Raze. Coupled with the constant on-screen presence of Teen Mom OG’s producers, UnREAL’s spin on the genre just might satisfy our craving for unique approaches to reality.
Premieres June 5 on Netflix
Not only does this series come from sci-fi powerhouses the Wachowski brothers and J. Michael Straczynski, but the creators are eager to share their lofty goals with interviewers. Sense8 tackles existential questions like what it means to be human in a global context, as well as heavy issues around politics, gender and religion. Eight people, inexplicably and psychically linked across the globe, begin to share sensory events that develop into emotional and experiential exchanges. The “planetary” scale of the series lends itself to a diverse cast that addresses concepts rarely delved into by more standard science-fiction fare. Sense8 joins a growing list of television series that utilize the talents of film writers, directors and actors, and this multiplex-averse homebody couldn’t be happier about it.
Premiere July 16 on FX
Joining the network known for edgy (and in this reviewer’s opinion, genius) dark comedies such as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Louie, Denis Leary’s Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll features a Cyrus-esque daddy-daughter duo: Leary plays Johnny Rock, the aging lead singer of The Heathens while his daughter (Elizabeth Gillies) fronts The Assassins. Leary’s nihilistic humor and FX’s ability to foster subversive and critically-acclaimed sitcoms should lead to a permanent place in my DVR.
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
Premieres July 31 on Netflix
This ironic prequel to David Wain and Michael Showalter’s cult comedy will be even more star-studded than the 2001 film. In this new series, the actors, who were too old to play their characters 14 years ago, have returned to play even younger versions of themselves. A litany of A-list actors, including Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig and Jason Schwartzman, join original stars Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce and the creators themselves.
Hand of God
Premier TBA on Amazon Instant Video
Hand of God’s pilot episode, directed by Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Quantum of Solace), premiered on Amazon Instant Video back in August 2014. After a violent rape nearly dismantles his family, a corrupt judge (Ron Perlman) believes God is speaking to him through his comatose son and begins a vigilante mission to find the rapist. Writer and creator Ben Watkins explains in Amazon’s “An Inside Look At” that the series is a chance “to explore the difference between justice and revenge.” Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives) and Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope) join Perlman (Sons of Anarchy) in this intense twist on the whodunit. Although the premiere date for the rest of the first season has yet to be announced, the fact that Amazon ordered additional episodes in early October suggests a late summer release isn’t inconceivable. Until then, watch the pilot on Amazon to get hooked.